Bluegrass version of ‘Pinocchio’ opens Friday |

Bluegrass version of ‘Pinocchio’ opens Friday

Summit Daily/Mark Fox

KEYSTONE ” The story of “Pinocchio” gets a Southern twist for the Lake Dillon Theatre’s children’s production taking place at the Quaking Aspen Theatre in Keystone, running on Fridays at 10 and 11:30 a.m. through Aug. 15.

“It’s not the traditional Italy, Disney version,” said Justin Murdock who plays the title character. “It’s a bluegrass twangy version.”

Josh Blanchard wrote the original tunes, which carries along by song an adaptation written by Lake Dillon Theatre artistic director Chris Alleman of the classic tale. Jonathan Parks also contributed to the music composition.

Murdock, a Lake Dillon Theater summer stock performer for his second year, runs the Pinocchio puppet created by Cory Gilstrap, and also animates the plant in the theater’s “Little Shop of Horrors.”

He said the new angle of theater has inspired him to look deeper into the art when he gets back to college in Georgia.

Murdock described his character in “Pinocchio.”

“He starts off not appreciating a lot in his life …” However, Pinocchio is led into adventures, including meeting a puppetmaster, wily fox and striped purple cat, and green fisherman along his journey. Director Alleman said it is loosely based on the original.

“It has the same themes that the original had ” be truthful, be honest, kinship, trust, just being kind of brave and strong.”

In the story, set in the era of the Great Depression in Louisiana, original characters are “countrified.”

Instead of a blue witch, there is a blue gypsy; instead of a whale, there is a alligator; and instead of catching a tuna, a mermaid is caught.

The cast is rounded out with William Lucas as Geppetto, Paige ManWaring as the Blue Gypsy, Brittany Parker as Foxy, Emily Rice as Kitty, Taylor Trensch as Punch, Selah Grace as Judy, John Mark Jernigan as the Puppetmaster, Anna Kimmell as the Butterfly and Jessica Blair as the Mermaid. The live band is Jonathan Parks on piano, Matt Wharton on bass and Ben Whitmore on banjo.

“Pinocchio” will be performed at the outdoor Quaking Aspen Theatre in Keystone on Fridays.

Leslie Brefeld can be reached at (970) 668-4626 or

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.

Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User